Different Types of Employment

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Different Types of Employment

Different types of employment can be found in the labour market. Make sure you know the advantages and disadvantages of each type of employment and the conditions of employment as stated in your written particulars or employment contract. This will ensure that you make a suitable career choice and help you to adhere to rules of the employer.

The Government of South Africa is moving towards making each employment opportunity a “decent” job - that means that you are protected as far as wages, conditions of employment and unfair labour practices, such as non-negotiated retrenchments, are concerned.

Written particulars of employment must be supplied when the employee commences employment. The particulars that are required are stipulated in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

A contract of employment is recommended as it protects both the employer and employee. A contract of employment states exactly what the service benefits will be for the employee and what rules the employee should adhere to. Both employer and employee accept the terms of employment at the beginning of employment. When a dispute arises, there should be no uncertainty about the facts to which the employer and employee agreed.

Permanent employment

Without permanent workers, most organisations will run the risk of having too many workers resigning at their will and one day not having any employees to do good quality and quantity work. Most workers, especially those working in the formal sector of the economy, therefore enter into a permanent contract of employment with their employer. A permanent contract of employment makes provision that you are working directly for the employer and paid directly by the employer. The permanent contract of employment usually makes provision for annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, subsidised health care, assistance to study further and contributions to a retirement plan. Sometimes such a permanent contract of employment makes provision that you can stay as long as you want on the job, depending on retirement age as set by the employer, or whether the company needs to retrench some people. In the modern world of work, employees never stay in one organisation for their whole career, but do job-hopping to climb the career ladder.

A permanent work will give you job security in that you will know you get a set amount of money per month, you can only be retrenched for operational reasons, you can establish a sense of who you are through your work (you are a plumber at company X), you can work on set tasks and have a sense of accomplishment, you build up extensive knowledge in your area, as well as relationships with people in the same field and you can establish friendships at work. The downside is that you may become frustrated with the same routine and may reach your ceiling in terms of development in the specific task. The new world of work will require from you toto keep on developing your skills in areas related to your work or even other areas, so as to enable you to become more employable.

When you receive your written particulars for employment or enter into a permanent contract of employment, make sure about office hours and other company rules, the salary, a bonus, leave available and other benefits

Part-time employment

Part-time work means that you are permanently employed, but work less days a week or less hours a day. Many women choose to work part-time to enable them to look after their children in the afternoon. Other people choose to work part-time while they study.

Part-time employees earn a lower salary and sometimes have less power and responsibilities in the work-place, than full time employees. You will thus have to consider whether you will be able to pay for necessities if you choose this option of work.

If you find it hard to enter the labour market, take a part-time job to gain the necessary skills and experience, since this will make it easier for you to move into a full-time job.

If you work more than 24 hours as a part-time employee you should be supplied with written particulars of employment or an employment contract, so be sure that you get yours. You will receive conditions of employment such as leave and sick leave, but these would be on a pro-rata basis.

Freelance or outsourcing

If you have specialised skills, you can become a consultant for different projects for companies and earn a good income. Freelancing or outsourcing allows you to do certain projects or tasks and work from home, and occasionally report for meetings at the work place for progress updates.

People who are doing freelance work often have their own small business and is called an “independent contractor.” These contractors should be taxpayers, are allowed to work their own hours and are not entitled to receive annual or sick leave, or a bonus. However, in some cases there are grey areas in which such a contractor/consultant is regarded as an employee of the organisation he works for - this is dependent on the type of relationship between the parties, whether the person is provided with tools of trade or work equipment, the person is subject to control or direction, and o must work fixed hours or not.

Make sure that you build a portfolio of past accomplishments to prove your skills, if you want to become a contractor/consultant. Also make enquiries into the nature of the relationship with the employer, so that you can be sure what the terms of the employment will be and whether you will be regarded as an employee of the organisation and thus have service benefits, or whether you will be appointed as independent contractor.

Temporary employment

Temporary work means that you work for a short period such as one day or a few months for an employer, or until a task is completed. Your work has a specific start date and end date.

Some temporary workers are hired by “labour brokers” to be placed at another organisation. The labour broker enters into a contract with the employee. In the past these temporary workers did not have much work benefits, because employers could appoint them without medical aid or pension benefits and thus pay less for work. The new Labour Relations Amendment Act, Act 6 of 2014, however provides for temporary work not to be longer in duration than three months after which it becomes permanent, unless the employer can provide good reasons why it should be regarded as work of a temporary nature. The labour broker must also provide the normal benefits to temporary workers, such as annual and sick leave and must pay contributions to Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Compensation Fund for them.

Temporary work provides an ideal opportunity for young people to earn money, such as during the holidays, or for those people who want to gain work experience to enhance their employability. You will also be able to test the nature of the work to be able to make a better career choice. Temporary workers have few rights and this can cause problems when you fall sick.

Casual work

A casual employee is employed for a short period and works for parts of the week, for example a domestic worker that only comes in once a week for 5 hours a day. If you work more than 24 hours a week, you are seen as an employee and you qualify for proportional rights such as annual leave and sick leave. You should receive written particulars of employment when you commence employment which protects your rights as a worker.

Piece work

If you do piece work, you are not paid according to hours of work, but according to the number of items you make, or tasks completed. Farm workers may for example be paid for the number of sheep sheared, provided they get paid at least the applicable minimum wage.


  1. Basic Conditions of Employment Act No 75 (1997)-Paralegal advice. www.paralegaladvice.org.za.

  2. Erasmus, Nicolene: The South African Labour Guide. www.labourguide.co.za.

  3. Labour Relations Amendment Act, Act 6 of 2014. www.labour.gov.za.

  4. Permanent employment.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Htttps://en.mwikipedia.org.

  5. Should I work part-time, temporary or permanent?” www.career-advice.monster.co.uk.

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